An intense case of “No Irish Need Apply” or even “No Immigrant Need Apply” has hit the United Kingdom as the Conservative government unveil their plans to name and shame British companies hiring foreign staff.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd (responsible the internal affairs of England and Wales and immigration and citizenship for the whole of the UK) announced during her speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Tuesday that a policy was to be introduced by which companies must report the number of foreign workers they employ, essentially “naming and shaming” those who fail to reach a certain level of British workers. The list of foreign employees must include employees from the European Union (EU), namely the Republic of Ireland.
The British government has been heavily criticized for the immigration policy, which will also see punishment for landlords who do not certify the immigration status of their tenants, introduce immigration vetting for those applying for cab licences, introduce similar vetting procedures for bank services, and establish a £140 million Controlling Migration Fund.
The policy also looks set to introduce a sharp rise in the number of deportations from the UK as minor offences will now give cause for the British government to forcibly remove someone from the country. Furthermore, foreign students will face stricter rules with the government looking at “tougher rules for students on low quality courses”, targeting those traveling to study who bring their families with them or who do not have a certain standard of English, in particular.
“While an international student is studying here, their family members can do any form of work,” said the Home Secretary.
“And foreign students, even those studying English Language degrees, don’t even have to be proficient in speaking English. We need to look at whether this one size fits all approach really is right for the hundreds of different universities, providing thousands of different courses across the country.
“And we need to look at whether this generous offer for all universities is really adding value to our economy.”
According to Rudd, the migration policy will work to “prevent migrants taking jobs [that] British people can do” by bringing net migration to the UK to under 100,000 a year. As of March 2016, it stood at 329,000, of which 190,000 were from outside the EU.
Concerns about migration to the UK was one of the hottest issues in the lead up to the Brexit referendum last June with Brexit campaigners claiming that the UK must leave the EU in order to gain greater control over the numbers of people moving into the country.
Although the full details of the migration policy have not yet been released, business owners, politicians, and high-profile foreign nationals living and working in the UK have been quick to condemn the government, claiming it will cause further division throughout the country, with one British journalist even comparing Rudd’s speech to an extract from “Mein Kampf”, the book authored by Adolf Hitler.
The comparison was echoed by Scottish National Party MP Paul Monaghan who asked “What next? Make them wear them special badges and stop them owning anything?”
Taking a quote from his own show, Fr. Ted producer, Irishman Graham Linehan, who works in the UK asked, “Should we all be racist now, United Kingdom?” while questioning when a far-right government was voted into power in Westminster.
The Financial Times even offered up a list of their foreign employees, which included one Irishman, stating they were “getting one step ahead of our jackbooted overlords.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who stands in staunch opposition to Brexit, was among those to criticize Rudd’s speech.
“Theresa May’s vision of Brexit Britain is a deeply ugly one – a country where people are judged not by their ability or their contribution to the common good but by their birthplace or by their passport,” she said.
Despite voting by a majority to remain in the EU, Scotland will be forced to leave alongside the rest of the UK when article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty (the formal EU/UK divorce procedure) is triggered within the next six months. Sturgeon has since called for a second referendum for Scottish independence which, if victorious, would allow the country to remain within the EU.
Business leaders have condemned the “badge of shame” that would be attributed to having a global workforce under the new government policy, predicting that it could lead to a Brexit-inspired recession.
“A lot of businesses would be saddened if they felt having a global workforce was somehow seen as a badge of shame,” said Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce, while the owner of Ellani, a shopping shopping center investor, Mark Robinson stated: “The most nasty, racist, reactionary bit of employment law since 1930s Germany… Ellandi will categorically refuse to list foreign workers.”
Home Secretary Rudd, who herself lived as an immigrant in New York for many years, has blasted claims that she is a racist, declaring there needs to be a serious discussion on how the UK is going to deal with migration.
“The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do,” Rudd said.
“We should be able to have a conversation about immigration, we should be able to have a conversation about what skills we want to have in the UK and whether we need to go out of the UK in order to get them to boost our economy and I don’t think we should have a situation where we can’t talk about it.”
There approximately 500,000 Irish nationals currently working in the UK with some big names in UK life among them, including One Direction band member Niall Horan, broadcaster and comedian Graham Norton, vice-chancellor of Oxford University Louise Richardson, comedian Dara Ó Briain, as well as many soccer players throughout the country’s various leagues.
Sorry, does anyone remember voting for a Far Right government? Did I fall asleep for a year?— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) October 5, 2016
When do we start marching?— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) October 5, 2016
Although the proposals will first apply to those from non-EU countries, according to the London Times, they will extend to all foreign nationals once the EU exit is complete. The UK is scheduled to have completely left the EU by mid-2019.
In June, a census was imposed by the Department of Education that required the nationality and English proficiency of every school student to be collected which they claimed would help assess the impact that immigration was having on the school system. Amid fears that the information will now be handed over to the UK Home Office and used for the purposes of tracking immigrants, the Department of Education yesterday sought to assure concerned parents that the information would not be treated in this manner.
An estimated six million people in the UK (10 percent of the population) claim Irish heritage and Irish ancestors.